shake

verb
\ ˈshāk How to pronounce shake (audio) \
shook\ ˈshu̇k How to pronounce shake (audio) \; shaken\ ˈshā-​kən How to pronounce shake (audio) \; shaking

Definition of shake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to move irregularly to and fro
2 : to vibrate especially as the result of a blow or shock
3 : to tremble as a result of physical or emotional disturbance shook with fear
4 : to experience a state of instability : totter
5 : to briskly move something to and fro or up and down especially in order to mix
6 : to clasp hands

transitive verb

1 : to brandish, wave, or flourish often in a threatening manner protesters shaking their fists
2 : to cause to move to and fro, up and down, or from side to side especially in a repetitive, rhythmic, or quick jerky manner shook his head in disapproval
3 : to cause to quake, quiver, or tremble
4a : to free oneself from shake a habit shake off a cold
b : to get away from : get rid of can you shake your friend? I want to talk to you alone— Elmer Davis
5 : to lessen the stability of : weaken shake one's faith
6 : to bring to a specified condition by or as if by repeated quick jerky movements shook himself loose from the man's grasp
7 : to dislodge or eject by quick jerky movements of the support or container shook the dust from the cloth
8 : to clasp (hands) in greeting or farewell or as a sign of goodwill or agreement
9 : to stir the feelings of : upset, agitate shook her up
shake a leg
1 : dance
2 : to hurry up
shake a stick at
: to form a conception of (as by counting or imagining) : conceive usually used in the phrase more than one can shake a stick at

shake

noun

Definition of shake (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of shaking: such as
a : an act of shaking hands
b : an act of shaking oneself
2a : a blow or shock that upsets the equilibrium or disturbs the balance of something
3 shakes plural
a : a condition of trembling or nervousness specifically : delirium tremens
4 : something produced by shaking: such as
a : a fissure separating annual rings of growth in timber
b(1) : milkshake
(2) : a beverage resembling a milkshake a protein shake
5 : a wavering, quivering, or alternating motion caused by a blow or shock
6 : trill
7 : a very brief period of time I'll be there in two shakes
8 shakes plural : one that is exceptional especially in importance, ability, or merit usually used in the phrase no great shakes
9 : a shingle split from a piece of log usually three or four feet (about one meter) long
10 : deal entry 2 sense 3 a fair shake

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Other Words from shake

Verb

shakable or shakeable \ ˈshā-​kə-​bəl How to pronounce shake (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for shake

Verb

shake, agitate, rock, convulse mean to move up and down or to and fro with some violence. shake often carries a further implication of a particular purpose. shake well before using agitate suggests a violent and prolonged tossing or stirring. an ocean agitated by storms rock suggests a swinging or swaying motion resulting from violent impact or upheaval. the whole city was rocked by the explosion convulse suggests a violent pulling or wrenching as of a body in a paroxysm. spectators were convulsed with laughter

Examples of shake in a Sentence

Verb The ground shook during the earthquake. The house shook as the train rumbled by. The earthquake shook the ground. Shake the salad dressing well before using it. I was so nervous that I was shaking like a leaf. The fugitive couldn't shake the police. It's hard to shake the feeling that I'm forgetting something. The news did nothing to shake my belief that things will be okay. Nothing could shake his faith in God. Noun He responded to the question with a shake of his head. Give the dice a shake. He drank too much coffee and got a bad case of the shakes.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Higher turnout would reflect a stronger will to shake things up. BostonGlobe.com, 11 Sep. 2021 The next day, Andrew Cuomo, then governor of New York, pledged to shake things up. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2021 In addition, two more women head to the beach house to shake things up, Tia and Kendall. Mike Rose, cleveland, 31 Aug. 2021 Derek Xiao wanted to shake things up in the Big Brother house, taking out one of the biggest threats in Christian Birkenberger. Dalton Ross, EW.com, 27 Aug. 2021 Elder is seeking to persuade voters that a conservative outsider is exactly who is needed to shake things up in Sacramento -- and that his experience as a right-wing pundit and media personality has prepared him for the job. Lincoln Mitchell, CNN, 18 Aug. 2021 The first night ended with love in the air, but the next morning, a new arrival threatened to shake things up already. Dana Rose Falcone, PEOPLE.com, 16 Aug. 2021 Looking to shake things up, two best friends embark on a life-changing adventure abroad as exchange students. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 15 Aug. 2021 Smith wasn’t necessarily trying to shake things up after losing his first three season openers. oregonlive, 11 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In a shake-up of previous years, some new breweries took home the hardware. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, 14 Sep. 2021 The legislative body is poised to undergo the biggest shake-up since 1993: five council seats are open this year, in large part due to mayoral ambitions. BostonGlobe.com, 14 Sep. 2021 The media company is revamping the operations of its Paramount Pictures movie and television production unit as part of a broader shake-up of the management, The Wall Street Journal reported. Joe Wallace, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2021 The days after Wright’s shooting were marked by intense protests and violent clashes with police as well as a chaotic leadership shake-up in the small suburb. Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2021 The campaign shake-up comes as Elder, a leading Republican candidate, faces heightened scrutiny of some of his past comments as a longtime talk radio host, including derogatory comments about women reported by CNN's KFILE. Kyung Lah, CNN, 23 Aug. 2021 Newsom announced the shake-up on Jan. 27, saying doses shipped to the state weren’t reaching residents fast enough. Isaac Stanley-becker, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Aug. 2021 Sands noted that less than 200 Republicans — out of roughly 3,200 town residents who are registered with the party — voted in the caucus that led to the shake-up on the party’s slate. Jessika Harkay, courant.com, 16 Aug. 2021 Midway through the film, any convictions about who Phoenix belongs with are given a shake-up, and then another one, until the point becomes how simple so many of the on-screen indicators that a character deserves sympathy actually are. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 13 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shake.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of shake

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shake

Verb

Middle English, from Old English sceacan; akin to Old Norse skaka to shake

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Time Traveler for shake

Time Traveler

The first known use of shake was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near shake

Shakalsha

shake

shake-bag

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Statistics for shake

Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shake. Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for shake

shake

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move sometimes violently back and forth or up and down with short, quick movements
: to move or have parts of your body move in short, quick movements and in a way that you are not able to control
: to free yourself from (someone or something) : to get away from or get rid of (someone or something)

shake

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shake (Entry 2 of 2)

: a short, quick movement back and forth or up and down
: a condition in which parts of your body move in a way that you are not able to control

shake

verb
\ ˈshāk How to pronounce shake (audio) \
shook\ ˈshu̇k \; shaken\ ˈshā-​kən \; shaking

Kids Definition of shake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make or cause to make quick movements back and forth or up and down The ground shook. Squirrels shook the branches.
2 : to tremble or make tremble : quiver She was so frightened her legs began to shake.
3 : to move from side to side I shook my head.
4 : to grasp and move up and down After reaching an agreement, they shook hands.
5 : to get away from She ran faster, but couldn't shake the dog.
6 : to make less firm : weaken After being beaten badly their confidence was shaken.
7 : to cause to be, become, go, or move by or as if by using a quick back and forth motion We can shake apples from the tree.

shake

noun

Kids Definition of shake (Entry 2 of 2)

: a quick back and forth or up and down movement

More from Merriam-Webster on shake

Nglish: Translation of shake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shake for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about shake

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